Is This Cooked?

Trip Start Sep 30, 2011
Trip End Dec 13, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hostal Sunny Days Arica
Read my review - 5/5 stars
What I did
Fish Market

Flag of Chile  ,
Friday, October 21, 2011

    As we made our way north to Peru we stopped for a few nights in the surfer town of Arica, Chile.  The bus trip from La Serena to Arica took us back out of the green coastal landscape of the Santiago area to one of the driest places I have ever been.  Driving through the Atacama desert is like driving through a sandbox.  Once we entered the Atacama I only remember seeing three oasis's that sustained life.  Everything else was dirt, no plants, no water, no animals and no people.  It's the kind of the place that makes you appreciate home, where we have plenty of water and shade to protect us.  
    Northern Chile is strange because even though you would expect the coast to become greener, it doesn't.  Arica is just as dry as the rest of the Atacama.  Life holds on by a thread sustained only by a river running through town.  If you walk a quarter mile out of town there is no life and you are back in the desert. 
    However, this little town sports some great beaches and fish markets.  After spending weeks in mostly cold Argentina we took advantage of the gorgeous weather to relax and sunbathe.  Arica also has some of the best surfing in the area, and we enjoyed watching the huge surf break over the rocking coast as we baked on the sandy coves.  Jessie and I both got pretty burned and have been surviving on aloe vera since.  Arica is also great for bird watching and I drug Jessie all over looking at shorebirds.  Everything was pretty similar to what we have back home, although I did see a Blackish Oystercatcher.  
    We stayed at Sunny Days Hostel and were blessed to have a host full of stories and knowledge.  Ross, a Kiwi who started the hostel a few years ago, gave us a ton of useful information about crossing the border into Peru, hiring a boat at Lake Titicaca, and exploring the ruins near Cusco.  The man is an encyclopedia, we've started using his name whenever we want to prove that what we are saying is a fact.  "We need to eat pizza tonight, Ross said it was good in Cusco".  Ross is into animal husbandry and came to Peru years ago to transport Alpacas back to New Zealand.  He told us all kinds of stories about fighting with country officials about regulations, rounding up animals in the mountains and his interactions with the flying cowboys (a group of mostly Americans who who take care of animals being transported by air).  
    During our stay in Arica we purchased lots of fish from the local fish market.  Our first time at the docks we were given a kind of fish salad while we waited for our fish to be cut.  we had a sneaking suspicion that the fish we were eating wasn't cooked, however, not wanting to be rude we ate the dish.  It wasn't bad, but later we found out that it was in fact raw.  Ceviche is a seafood dish popular in the coastal countries of South and Central America.  It is made with raw fish, lemon or lime juice, chili peppers, onion, cilantro and salt.  For being raw it wasn't half bad.
    The leftovers from the fish market attracted loads of sea lines, pelicans and herons.  We spent a couple hours one afternoon watching the wildlife down by the dwarf.  It was perfect for photographing as the the dock was full of colorful fisherman boats.  
    As with all good things our time in Arica ended and we prepared to cross the border into Peru. 
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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